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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Just when you thought they weren't listening…
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Tuesday, October 6,2015

Just when you thought they weren't listening…

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

I don’t enjoy the first few weeks of school as much as I do now once we get rolling. It is a “getting to know you” process. Unavoidable, but still, not fun. By now each of my classes has its own personality, making the repetition of lessons six times per day less monotonous. Things strike kids differently, and the questions raised during class change the conversation all day. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t learn something new. We spend 180 days together, and some days are better than others. There are days when I am just “on” and the energy is palpable. And other days when I wonder if I’m even really in the room because everyone looks like they are about to fall asleep! I used to take that really personally, but experience and wisdom are teaching me that sometimes I just can’t compete with a sugar crash or personal situation outside of my realm. So I carry on, do what I can and hope for the best.

 

Realizing that the students don’t have to love every minute of every one of my painstakingly thought out lessons has been a huge relief. And I didn’t really figure that out until this past August. I noticed that my students from the year before come in to visit very frequently during those weeks. It’s always happened, but I never really put two and two together. They are feeling the same way I am… that classes are new, the gel hasn’t set yet. They miss my history class!

Sometimes I’m shocked at who pops in to say hello. They come in all smiles and wanting to know about my summer and say how much they loved class last year and they are going to miss it, and I think, Really? You, who always seemed to be staring out the window and groaning at the slightest mention of notetaking or homework? You miss my class?! And it really makes my day!

They only remember the good parts. We spend so much time together that we really do become like a family. And families have their ups and downs. But at the very core of it, there is an appreciation for that feeling of being home. Being loved. I guess my students feel the very deep love I have for what I do. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach the next generation about the world they live in, and I take my role very seriously. I feel like I’m doing our country a disservice if I don’t reach as many students as possible and make sure they “get it.” Like a coach loves their athletes and a parent loves their children, I love my students. Day in and day out. Sometimes it takes tough love. But in the end it seems to be the love they remember. So, thanks students! For helping me see that even when you are using your backpack as a pillow and there is drool rolling down your chin, you still appreciate what’s happening in our little world history universe.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

by Jonna Shutowick, M.S. Ed.

Jonna Shutowick, M.S. Ed. is a high school history teacher for the Palm Beach County school district. She has created a character named Rosey Shades TM , whose philosophy teaches students about the importance of choosing optimism over pessimism by asking, “What color are the clouds in your world?

For more information, visit http:// roseyshades-onthebrightside.blogspot.com/

 

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